Thursday, May 7, 2015

Wisconsin Half Marathon

I have a long list of excuses why I didn't meet my expectations for this half marathon. They are, in no particular order: the weather, the hills, over training, under training, exhaustion from a recent work trip to NY, swimming in the pool at the hotel, sitting in the hot tub at the hotel, being in Kenosha, being tripped (accidentally) by Mr. H. as we walked to the start line. I don't know what combination of or if any of these things played a part in how I felt on Saturday. Maybe it was just one of those days.

We drove up to Kenosha on Friday afternoon and enjoyed ourselves in the hotel pool. I didn't actually do any strenuous swimming; we mostly just stood around watching Baby H. swim across the pool. Afterwards we enjoyed a pasta dinner at a local restaurant, eating early enough so as not to have any digestive issues.

Saturday morning we woke at 5, had a normal pre-race breakfast with the exception of it being in a hotel lobby. We made our way into Kenosha, found a place to park and walked to the start line a few blocks away. It was warmer outside that we were hoping for, being already in the mid 50s when we woke so I went with the lightest option of clothing, shorts and a short sleeve shirt. Pre race was pretty normal. Mr. H. and I just barely got a porta-potty trip in before the start, but we managed it and other than me tripping, it was all good. The race was a couple thousand people total in both the half and full marathons, not too big, but enough people - at least in the half - to not be lonely.

Going out, the first couple of miles I had that heavy leg thing where you're getting warmed up, but I was managing to keep the 10 min pace I wanted. I actually had a few extra seconds to spare, and by the time I got around to mile six, I had about 30 extra seconds. But then this is where things started to get interesting. The course wasn't hilly in the true sense of the word, but I would call it hilly in the Chicago sense of the word. And the hills weren't that steep, but there were several rolling type hills. Added to that, the temperature kept going up. Again, I wouldn't actually call it hot, but certainly warmer than what we've been used to running in lately.

Around mile eight or nine we're out of these rolling hills and headed back into Kenosha. Though the course was flatter, my pace started slipping and I am eating into my cushion of maintaining an even 10 minute pace overall. As I got to mile 10, I can see the finish line across a small bay, which I considered swimming across just to be done. At this point I'm not trying to really meet my goal of 10 min splits, I just want to stay under my PR. I did have a few minutes of trying to figure out how to make my body believe I hadn't already run 10 miles and I was just out for a quick 5k. But my body's not dumb and the next couple of miles I see my hopes of even PRing disappear.

At mile 12, as the course finally turns back to the finish line, I look at my watch and figure out that if I pump out a 10 minute mile I could at least PR by maybe a few seconds. I actually got up to a 9:45ish pace for a while, but it was not to be. Finishing time 2:17:16. Off my PR by a little over a minute.

Mr. H. has a similarly disappointing marathon. One in which he had hoped to BQ, but ended up running 9 minutes slower than his PR.

Knowing that, and seeing so many people walk in, I do feel a little bit better knowing it was most likely the heat (and hills) that made this not the race for me to PR. It's disappointing, but it's also funny that I'm at a point that I can be disappointed with a 2:17 half. That is by no means anywhere near my slowest half marathon. In fact, it's my second fastest.

Would I run this race again? Probably since it's not a bad course overall and I could count as hill training. And since it's Kenosha, we were home by 1 pm. But then again, I suspect I will harbor resentment towards this race and will be happy enough never to go to Kenosha again. Oh well, there are other halfs out there. Plus - the medal has a bottle opener on it and we all know I have enough of those.


Pete B said...

Congrats on your second fastest half despite the heat!

Melanie Higgins said...

Thanks Pete - and you too. Guess it just wasn't our day.

Michelle @ said...

Great job on your finish!!! It's tough when you don't reach your set goal, but you should be extremely proud. It was a hot one out there!

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